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Xenophobia & Racism

I have been too busy to post although I do have some thoughts to post about, especially on the housing issue. Any how, I saw this video posted on Facebook and thought to myself: Will Singapore ever got to this stage?

My Tram Experience

It is always easy to criticize that the ‘racist white women’ is, well, racist. And as I’d mentioned before in my blog, racism and xenophobia are dirty words. Words that imply intolerance made even more unforgivable in this modern society. The modern times is, supposedly, perceived to be globalized, highly tolerant and racial blind.  The hard truth is, racism is here to stay ever since Darwin coined the term ‘race’. Even Ivy Leagues in the United States could not escape from this controversial topic.

Before we jump into history and start blaming the British that they tasted their own medicine from colonial days, let us look deeper. The question we should be asking is: Why did this British women, presumably educated and aware that ‘racism is wrong’, would do such a preposterous act in public?

Going by her statement on ‘…look! look the whole f****** tram is…black people…” My guess is, she does not feel that her home is home anymore. Does that sounds familiar? No one likes to feel being discriminated. But at the same time, how many of you can really say you are not racist at any one point in time? I admit I do have my racist moments. Such feelings erupt whenever you felt overwhelmed by a body of unfamiliar faces and accents and behaviors that does not fit into your familiar circle of social conduct. It’s a defensive act towards unfamiliarity, to protect the social construct you are comfortable with.

Politicians sweep it off as globalization and harp on that they can do nothing about it. While they cannot reverse the trend of globalization, every government has the choice of softening the impact. The way I see it, I do not wish for the time of heightened xenophobia and racism among Singaporeans to come. And the authorities can, and should do something that can significantly lessen the social distortion that the sharp jump in foreigners bring to Singapore.

Categories: Signs
  1. December 5, 2011 at 5:00 am

    No, I don’t feel like a racist when I’m overwhelmed by unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells in a foreign land. In India and Pakistan, I eat with my bare hands. How should I feel when people from a foreign country come to my country, mistake Braddell for Bishan and complain loudly that there are no Chinese words on the network maps on our trains? I’m pissed off with such behaviour. Is that racism? I don’t think so.

    And we had to change Nee Soon to Yishun, our 澳洲 has become 澳大利亚, 纽西兰 has become 新西兰 and even our neighbour 印尼 has to be read as 印度尼西亚. I’m not happy with these changes. Is that racism? I don’t think so.

    • December 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      I actually do agree that what you said does not constitute as being racist. But oh well, it’s always easy for foreigners to use the racist card. I noticed the change in chinese usage as well. But that should not be surprising. Singapore is among the first to adopt China’s simplified Chinese since decades ago. It is undeniable that China’s influence, good or bad, will continue to grow. At least for the current generation, taiwanese chinese (including lingos) seems to be more commonly used among the chinese population thanks to taiwan’s stronger soft power in entertainment.

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